On the hunt for the best smart plug going? Far from a gimmicky addition to the world of smart home tech, smart plugs offer a variety of handy functions intended to aid modern living. Plus, they can help reduce your energy consumption.
So, whether you're looking to schedule lighting while you're away from home to give the impression that someone's in; want the option to ensure a fan turns off automatically once you've drifted off to sleep; or never want to experience the fear of having left your hair straighteners on, again, these best smart plugs are the way to go.
Still not sure exactly what a smart plug is and what it does? You'll find everything you need to know over in our beginner's guide to smart plugs. Find out how smart plugs can change your life (for the better), too.
Interested in expanding your smart home? Head over to The Hub, our one-stop-shop for all things technology advice, information and (honest) reviews.
What is the best smart plug?
The best smart plug is the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch. It works with Amazon, Apple and Google services, meaning it can slot readily into smart home setups and can monitor energy usage and provide recommendations for reducing your bills, as well as letting you set schedules and turn your appliances on and off from your phone. Plus, it's compatible with IFTTT, which is perfect for those looking to create a more complex smart home system.
A cheaper option, the Hive Active Smart Plug gets our vote, thanks to its simple yet effective design and functionality. Offering the option to control connected plug sockets from afar, as well as scheduling up to six different time slots daily, this model has all of your security and energy streamlining needs covered.
Plus, it connects easily to the wider Hive smart home system – much of which also comes highly recommended. While it's not essential that you remain brand loyal when building a smart home system – most devices are interconnectable – if you're looking for absolute ease, it's an option worth considering, in which case Hive is a well designed, practical and reliable brand to commit to. Read on to find out more, and to see all our smart plug picks.
Want more info on creating a wider smart home system? The following guides contain all the information you could ever need (and demonstrate the scope of product available form Hive):
How to choose the best smart plug
When it comes to buying the best smart plug, it's easy to assume that all models offer an almost identical function, but that's not quite true. In order to find a model that best suits your needs there are a few factors worth considering – all of which we've factored into our reviewing process. These include:
Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity
Most smart plugs operate via Wi-Fi, but there are a few instances in which you'll need to connect via Bluetooth instead. While Wi-Fi is the best option, if you live in an area with particularly awful WiFi speeds, you may benefit from opting for a Bluetooth model.
If you're planning on investing in a number of smart plugs to streamline your use of energy, it's worth considering whether the model you're considering offers a zoning function. As the term suggests, this allows you to create handy plug 'zones,' which can be turned off, or scheduled, collectively. Think: all living room table lamps within one zone, for example.
If you're planning on using your smart plug to aid your home security set up – in most cases this will mean programming lights to come on, intermittently, while you're away from home – you'll need to ensure you're opting for a model that offers a scheduling function.
While, of course, you can turn lights on and off, manually, via your smart phone if you opt for a model without a scheduling function, we imagine that, a few days into your holiday, you'd rather focus your attentions on downing Sangria that sorting out your home security.
The final consideration comes down to whether you're running the rest of your smart home system on Android (Alexa or Google Assistant) or iOS (Siri). In order to connect everything together, effectively, you'll need to ensure you opt for a compatible device.
The best smart plugs 2020
The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch is the best all-round smart plug. While it's not the most affordable option available, it's more than worth the investment if you're serious about having a smart plug that does everything you'd expect it to, and more.
The main draw of a smart plug for many is the ability to control electronic devices from afar. So, whether you're keen to maintain some control over the kids' TV watching schedule – even when you're not there – or want to put your mind at ease, safe in the knowledge that you did turn off the iron, this model from Belkin covers the basics.
A step up from simply being able to control your appliances from afar, the WeMo Insight Switch allows you to set schedules. Perfect for helping reduce your energy usage – you can schedule all non-essential electronics to turn off when you leave the house, and turn back on when you return – schedules can also be used to enhance your home security by using smart plugs on lamps, giving the appearance that someone's home, even when they're not.
Plus, for the more tech savvy among us, there's the option to connect the WeMo to an external automator tool, such as IFTTT (If This Then That) which allows for more complex commands.
While, admittedly, you're not going to single-handedly save the planet by switching your appliances off at the socket when you're not using them, there is something to be said for being more conscious of your energy usage. With this in mind, the WeMo Insight Switch can help users identify where they're wasting the most energy and make changes, accordingly.
Compatible with Amazon, Apple and Google, the WeMo Smart Plug should slip, seamlessly, into a wider smart home system.
The only-just-second-best smart plug you can buy, there are a lot of reasons why we rate the Hive Active Smart Plug so highly.
Whether you want the option to turn off lights, fans, electric heaters and more without having to get out of bed; or want to be able to check – wherever you are – that you did in fact turn off your hair straighteners, iron or whatever else, the ability to control a smart plug from your smart phone is a super handy feature. Thanks to the ease of the Hive system, this is easier than you might imagine.
Perfect for those looking for easy ways to increase their home security, the Hive Smart Active Plug allows users to schedule up to six separate time slots, daily, making it easier than ever to give burglars the impression that someone's home (even if they're not). Or, perhaps you want the slow cooker to turn on (or off) while you're at work, so dinner's ready when you get home? Or the coffee machine to make a brew just as your alarm goes off in the morning? Scheduling sorts it.
Forming part of the wider – and equally recommended – Hive Smart Home System, makes opting for a smart plug from Hive the easiest option if you're looking to build your home set-up and want the guaranteed ease of committing to one, specific brand where quality and functionality is guaranteed. While this isn't essential – most smart product brands are interconnectable – we understand the desire of many to minimise hassle through brand loyalty.
Comparable, in many ways, to our top model, the mydlink Wi‑Fi Smart Plug DSP‑W115, does everything you'd expect a smart plug to do, and it does it well. The only thing preventing it from taking the top spot? D-Link don't have a particularly wide smart home range (yet), so if you're looking to build a wider smart home system you'll have to be prepared to control separate items from separate apps. Not the biggest problem in the world, but something worth considering if you're looking for efficiency.
That said, there are a lot of benefits to be enjoyed from investing in this model.
As is standard with most smart plugs, it's easy to turn your plug on and off, from wherever you are, thanks to smart connectivity. In addition to being able to turn lights and other electronic devices on and off without having to get out of bed/get off the sofa; it's also a practical solution if your sockets are in hard-to-reach places. Think: stuck down behind the sofa or under a sideboard.
An essential for those looking to switch – whether gradually, or in one go – to a full set of smart plugs, the option to create zones with your smart plugs is perfect for those prioritising energy reduction. Simply turn your plugs off, in one fell swoop and you're doing your bit for the environment.
Interested in using smart plugs to monitor your energy usage? The TP-Link WiFi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring could be the option for you.
Providing weekly and monthly feedback, as well as real time stats, this model is perfect for those looking to keep track of their energy usage. They say knowledge is power and once you know exactly how much energy each of your devices is using, it'll make it all the easier to look for ways to reduce it. Good for the planet and good for your pocket, this feature is a real winner.
Providing peace of mind for those who *sometimes* forget to turn off their appliances, this option from TP-Link comes complete with a countdown timer feature, which switches off running household appliances, automatically, if you have set a time limit prior to use.
If you're an Alexa user who's on a budget, the Amazon Smart Plug could be just what you've been looking for. While it may not come with all the bells and whistles of its competitors, this is a handy piece of kit that's perfect for those just beginning to break out into the world of smart home tech.
Perfect for those already operating on the Amazon Alexa system, it's super simple to control your smart plugs via the Alexa app. Unlike other systems there's no need for any extra apps to clutter up your phone.
On top of this, the fact that this smart plug model was designed, in house, by Amazon, means it's unlikely that you'll be met with any difficulties when connecting to your wider Amazon smart home system.
Much like many of the other smart plugs mentioned in this buying guide, it's super easy to schedule when your smart plugs turn devices on and off. That's your home security and hard to reach plug socket dilemmas solved.
An ideal addition for those who have – or are building – a Wiser smart home system, the Wiser Smart Plug not only functions as a smart plug in its own right, but helps to expand the reach of other connected products, too.
A great investment for those already building a smart home system with Drayton Wiser, handily, this smart plug not only operates in its own right, but boosts the range of other smart products from the range, too.
Offering up to eight scheduling slots, daily, this model offers the most opportunity to turn devices on and off, that we've seen. Plus, you can switch your plugs on and off, as you wish, from your smartphone.